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Report - Another night under london...

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by Zero, Nov 17, 2007.

  1. Zero

    Zero Guest

    Since Mr Undercity is currently doing a tour of the UK, Dsankt and co had been showing him some of the best that London has to offer such as Fleet etc. So tonight we all met up and headed down to the Westbourne. In many peoples opinion the best sewer/relief system in the UK.

    I met up with loops at Victoria station and after some YO! sushi we headed over to Knightsbridge. We phoned Ds "Yea well be there in a hour". So we went and chilled out in Starbucks. Hour later, "were just having dinner, be there in 40 minutes", So and hour and 40 minutes and two grande chocolates late we were stood above our entrance kitted up and down we all went.

    A warm gust of air greeted us as we unloaded our baggage and set of. We headed up into the main triple pipe junction and headed up into one of the main side chambers. Here two smaller sewer pipes connected into the main chamber and also included a infall from the Serpentine lake. After a little look around we headed back into the main chamber and then proceeded upstream.

    I forgot just how long this pipe was it seemed to go on forever and every rushing sound which might have meant the end was just a small side pipe. But after 20 minutes we finally made it to the large sewer overflow chamber. We put our kit down and got out our tripods and started shooting. After a while a small trickle of water started overflowing in the center tunnel, nothing to much to worry about so we continued. A few minutes later water started seeping into the side tunnel where our bags where and the trickle in the center was now a pretty substantial flow. A few seconds later and all three pipes let rip!. Time to go now!. We headed down a quick side pipe to our nearest exit. While the other were trying to work out if we were in a road or not i was still in the pipe and the water was rising up further and further. Dsankt opened the cover and we all made a hasty exit into the clear night sky?.

    Madness the only time i see that sewer overflow is during a dry spell. We decided to head back to our original entrance downstream and see how the lower sections had faired and after a freezing cold trot through London in t-shirts and waders we were back underground in the warmth.

    The main chamber was now a torrent of fast flowing water and the mist was incredible you couldn't see more then two meters in front of you. It wasn't too deep but the combined speed of the water and the fact the bricks had no grip caused a slight problem. We chicken stepped it down to the entrance of the Egg relief and headed down. Water was overflowing here as well but evidently no water seemed to be coming from the Tyburn so we headed that way. While walking Steve joked "we've just been washed out of one pipe due to overflow, and now were going down and another one!".

    We eventually arrived at the Tyburn which was running at normal schedule and headed downstream. Once again it was mega slippery and i also lost my footing and caked it. I was kind of hoping the boat we used to sail the river would still be here somewhere but sadly it was not to be. We crossed over the tiny diverting wall and onto the dryer section. we passed by the Sub-urban bend and stood before the "flap 'o doom". I hadn't made it this far before so it was cool to finally see it.

    We now had a dilemma. Do we go past it?. Pros of going through were that its more tunnel to explore but Cons included, it might close behind us. We don't know what would happen if it did and we didn't know if we could get out the other side. We eventually decided to go through it as the flap wasn't built by bazz and his crew so there should be no reason why the exits would stop.

    After a bit more tunnel we came to another gate this one shut with a small gap either side. Hmm where had i seen this type of flap before. The egg!. So there must be something more behind it. I stuck my camera through the side and sure enough the pipe continued. So what do we do now?, as getting past this flap would be a problem. We could either go back and do a long walk round but this meant trying to find another entrance when we didn't know where we were. Pop the cover beside and hope there was another cover further down. Or finally squeeze round the flap.

    We got Ds to slowly crank a nearby cover and see if it was possible to come out here. He came back and said its slightly busy and i can see a building with "Southern Railway" written on it. We decided against going up as it was too risky. Thank god we didn't!. Turn out this comes out right in front of Victoria Station. So thats one option down. We took a few photos of the pipe to clear our minds then we decided if we could push the flap open id go round and find a exit futher down.

    1,2,3 Push. I squeezed round and wedged a maglite in for safety. I shone my torch down and shouted back. "fu** its huge". The tunnel had opened up by about 4-5 times the size of the upper Tyburn as was now about 9 meters wide almost the size of Megatron!. I pushed on downstream calling back every now and then to let the others know i was ok. I passed through a small section which looked like one of the original culvert attempt dating back way before the London sewer projects. The other side the pipe grew again and was now getting taller. I found a exit that would open and headed back to get the other.

    After a bit of persuading and assurance that i had found a cover downstream the others came through and we headed downstream. We headed past the cover and Ds confirmed it opened. On we went. Before long two more sidepipes joined from each side and a smaller channel formed in the middle and two flat walkways lay either side. Ace!. We then came to a newer section of roofing which showed just hold old the other bits were. This was awesome you could actually see where this would have been a river bank as the brickwork went up a certain way in old yellow bricks then newer red brick took over for the roof!.

    Another 15 minutes of amazing brickwork the channel curved off to the left and dissapeared. But the main tunnel continued. Now dry with two layers of rusty supports which used to carry pipes underground. Think paris cable tunnels that kind of style. The tunnel now converged down into a smaller 8ft concrete pipe and after a small crab filled walk we came to a red brick chamber which housed the outfall flap to the thames.

    Back to the main chamber and we send Ds to have a quick look down where the channel went as we could see a floodgate in the distance. "Is there anything down there?" he turned around and simply said "Ermm i think it would be worth you coming down :)" As we approached the tunnel opened into yet another chamber with several operating gears and three level. Due to the amount of cobwebs it looked like a haunted house and clearly noone had been in this section for years. To the left was a small side entrance which bent like a tetris block around a corner, wow. It was a old access shaft. It looked like a mine due to the original wooden beams and support beams which were so rotten you know they had been here for decades!.

    We headed back out into the main pipe and started working out how to photograph this beast!. We spent about an hour setting up and shooting different shots and it was now progressed onto the morning and we still had stuff in the north part of the Westbourne we had to collect, so we headed out. We collected our stuff congratulated ourselves on a fun trip and headed our separate ways!.

    Evidentially i only managed a few shots worthy of showing anyone so several return trips are a MUST as theres so much we need to do down there.

    Anyway the pics or those i took.

    Upper Tyburn Sect

    The sub-urban bend



    Tyburn's end sect





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